Darjeeling, a scenic summer location in northern West Bengal, is one of our favorite destinations. Surrounded by rolling green tea plantations and the majestic Kanchenjunga Mountains above the skyline.
The permanent beauty and quaint Victorian charm of the place is enough to mesmerise travelers and tourists alike. And the icing on the cake is a lovely Darjeeling toy train through the mountains. Which other hill stations have so many beauties rolled in one!
The best time to visit
The most popular months for traveling to Darjeeling are March-May and October-December. The weather at this time of year is very pleasant and the sky is clear, so you have a chance to find beautiful Kanchenjunga in the distance. It is best to avoid the monsoon season as it can be very foggy and landslides are likely to occur during heavy rains. But for those looking for a quieter, this is a great time to visit.
How to reach
The closest airport to the city is Bagdora Airport, about 100 kilometers from Darjeeling. Rest assured that going to Darjeeling through a winding road is a rewarding experience in itself.
The nearest train station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP). There are trains to this station from almost all major cities. From here, you can take a shared taxi or a private taxi to Darjeeling. A more exciting option is to take NJP’s famous toy train to Darjeeling. The journey can take up to 7 hours, but the experience is definitely beautiful.
NH55 in Orissa is a common option to detour on the road to Darjeeling. Darjeeling has good connections to neighboring cities and states, such as Sikkim’s Gangtok, so many other routes are available depending on your destination.
Place to Visit
Darjeeling is a small hilly town, but there are many Darjeeling attractions nearby. Although the city of Darjeeling is small, Darjeeling covers an area of over 3,000 square kilometers. Darjeeling has many attractions in the city, but you can also visit two other locations, Calson and Kalimpong. These are also very beautiful and attractive.
Here are some of Darjeeling’s most popular attractions.
1. Tiger hill
Sunrise from Tiger Hill Darjeeling
Tiger Hill is located at the highest point of Darjeeling at an altitude of 2,590 m, about 11 km from the city of Darjeeling. Visiting Tiger Hill during the day is a completely different perspective for many tourists. But early in the morning, the place is full of long lines of cars and people waiting for the sun to rise. Tiger Hill is now internationally renowned for its spectacular sunrise views of the Kangchenjunga Mountains and other eastern Himalayas. Tiger Hill has a gazebo with mountain views. It’s a great experience to see the first sunshine hit the Kanchenjunga Mountains and the snow-capped Everest Mountains. Autumn and winter are the best times to see the sunrise clearly.
2. Batasia Loop and War Memorial
Located on Hill Cart Road, Batasia Loop, about 5 km from the city of Darjeeling, is one of the main attractions. The Batasia Loop is a huge railroad loop in which a Darjeeling toy train rotates 360 degrees immediately after gum. From here you can get a panoramic view of the Kanchenjunga Mountains and the entire landscape. The Batasia Loop has a well kept eco garden from which you can sit and enjoy stunning views.
The War Memorial is in the center of the Batasia Loop. Outside the Batasia Loop is a small market area selling antiques, bags, hats and other ornaments. After a trip to Tiger Hill, you can visit the Batasia Loop to see the sunrise.
Hours: Daily from 5am to 8pm
3. Darjeeling toy train
It is India’s first mountain railway, opened in 1881 to connect Darjeeling and the plains of Siliguri. This mountain railway is considered one of the best examples of mountain railways and is undoubtedly an excellent engineering achievement of the time. It has been registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This is a two-hour trip from Darjeeling Station to Gum, returning a distance of 14 km. The train stops at the Batasia Loop. The fare for Darjeeling Joy Ride is between Rs 1000.00 to 1600.00 per head.
4. Mall or Chow Rasta
It is the center of the city of Darjeeling and the trendiest part of the city as a whole. It is a flat land exclusively for pedestrians, and access to the mall is prohibited. Around the mall, there is a seating area where you can relax and enjoy a sultry cup of Darjeeling tea. There are various shops in the mall area, such as a tea bar, an antique shop, and a bookstore. There are several places to visit around Darjeeling Mall. You can take a walk on Mall Road to visit some of Darjeeling’s most important and historic sites.
5. Zoo and HMI
It is India’s largest alpine zoo, covering an area of 67.5 hectares at an average altitude of 7,000 feet.
The Himalayan Mountain Institute is considered a pilgrimage site for mountaineering enthusiasts. There is a museum with mountaineering exhibits and many expedition relics. The HMI is in the same complex as the zoo and you can visit both together.
6. Rockery and Gangamaya park
The rockery could be a rock-carved terrace garden with seats in between. The main attraction here is the falls that run down the rocks. The rockery, additionally referred to as the Barboti rockery, was created by the Darjeeling Luca Hill Council to spice up business in Darjeeling. Gangamaya Park features a stunning garden and fountain. The park features a little lake wherever tourists will board a ship.
7. Japanese Temple and Peace Pagoda
The Japanese temple and peace pagoda are symbols of peace and places of tranquility. It’s set in Jarapaha Hills, a 10-minute drive. This temple, additionally referred to as the Meiji Nihonyama, was inbuilt 1972 by the japanese monk Nichidatsu Fujii.
Hours: Daily from 4:30 am to 7:00 pm
8. Tea Plantation
Happy valley Tea Estate is the best place wherever you’ll be able to get a primary expertise of tea gardens furthermore as however the tea leaves really move to your cup. The tea estate was established in 1854 and was referred to as the Wilson Tea Estate. The estate covers a district of about a hundred and ten hectares and is one amongst the best tea estates in the province. Most of the tea bushes here are over a century old!
There’s a tea tasting at the tip of the tour. There’s additionally a tea shop wherever you’ll be able to purchase the best domestically fully grown Darjeeling tea.
Hours: Tea plantations and factories are open on weekdays. The manufacturing plant is closed from Nov to February.
Here are some of the best places to have a cup of tea:
- Eggplant Mars Tea and Sunset Lounge
- Tea house
- Golden Chips Tea Lounge
- Windermere afternoon tea
- Happy Golden Cafe
9. Observatory Hill and Mahakal Temple
These are behind the mall. The Mahakal Temple is on the highest hill at the observatory. The initial cloister was inbuilt the year 1765 by the Lama Dorje Rinzing and it had been destroyed in 1815 throughout the Gorkha invasion. Later the Mahakal Temple was engineered at the place and also the cloister was restored concerning one.5 metric linear unit downhill from the Chowrasta.
At Mahakal Temple, you may not solely hear the chants of Hindu prayers, however will hear the Buddhist monks reading scriptures.
10. Gum cloister
One of the most splendid monasteries close to Darjeeling is the Gum cloister, additionally referred to as the Igachorin cloister. It’s one amongst the oldest Tibetan monasteries in the Darjeeling region. The most attractive feature of the cloister is the 15-foot-high sculpture of Maitreya or the longer term Buddha.
The cloister additionally has several rare Buddhist manuscripts, together with 108 volumes of Kangyur (Tibetan Buddhist Gospel).
11. Tenzing and Gombu Rocks
Tenzing Rock could be a big rock naturally shaped, named after the notable mountain climber. Gonbrock is directly opposite Tenzing Rock and is known as when Tenzing Norgay’s kinsman Nawan Gomb, UN agency climbed Mount Everest doubly in 1963 and 1965. Hobby climbers use the proper facet of Tenzing Rock, thus you’ll be able to get pleasure from hiking.
12. Self-help center for Tibetan refugees
The Tibetan Refugee Self-help Center was established in 1959 for the rehabilitation of Tibetans who emigrated to India after China’s invasion of Tibet. To survive, they adopted the principle of self-help.
Tibetans produce exquisite handicrafts, cloth, carpets, wood carvings and other items.
You can take a reserved car for a Darjeeling sightseeing tour from the Clubside Taxi Stand or Chowk Bazaar. Cars usually offer three types of sightseeing tours – 3 points, 5 points and 7 points sightseeing tours.
- 3-Point Tour: This is an early morning sunrise tour at Tiger Hill, Batasia Loop and Gum Monastery. Temporary booking taxi fare: Rs 1200.00 – 1500.00
- 5-Point Tour: Includes Japanese Temple and World Peace Pagoda, Larkti, Darjeeling Temple, Ava Art Gallery, Darjeeling Zoo. This will take about 3 hours Temporary price of reserved car: Rs 1200.00-1500.00
- 7-Point Tour: This includes most of Darjeeling’s famous attractions such as Darjeeling Zoo and HMI, Darjeeling Cable Car, Tenjin Rock and Gombrockx, Happy Valley Tea Plantation, Tibetan Refugee Center and Levon Racecourse. Temporary price of reserved car: Rs 1500.00-1700.00
Where to Stay?
Here are some of the hotels
- Windermere Hotel Darjeeling
- Darjeeling Luxury Hotel
- Windermere (best view of Kangchenjunga)
- Cedar Inn (best view of Kangchenjunga)
- Mayfair Darjeeling
- Sinclairs Darjeeling
- Little tibet
- Central Nirvana (best view of Kangchenjunga)
- Central Gleneagles Heritage Resort
- Hotel Shangri-La
- Darjeeling Tourist Lodge (Best View of Kanchenjunga)
- Darjeeling Mayfair Darjeeling Accommodation
- Cheap hotels in Darjeeling
- Classic Guest House (Best View of Kanchenjunga)
- Broadway extension
- Decelling Hotel
- Hotel capital
- Old Bellevue Hotel
- Guest family
- Pahari Soul Homestay (Best View of Kanchenjunga)
- Happy Valley Homestay
- Himalayan Inn
- Keventers breakfast plate
- Darjeeling has a unique combination of Bengali, Nepalese and Tibetan.
- Keventers and Glenarys are places to enjoy a full English breakfast.
- Bacon, sausages, omelets, fried eggs, sandwiches, fresh Darjeeling is also famous for peaches, thukpa, Tibetan and Nepalese dishes, also Indian and Continental cuisines
Darjeeling is a shopper’s paradise.
- Chowrasta’s Habeeb Mullick and Sons
- It is advisable to buy Darjeeling tea, antiques and jewelry, handicrafts and antiques, and Darjeeling wool.
- Popular handicrafts to buy at Darjeeling include Tibetan masks, tankers, and kukri.
- Stoles, wool sweaters, jackets, hats and pashmina scarves are also commonly sold.
- The antique house in Nepal is one of our favorite places to look for antiques, masks and tankers.
- The Biswa Bangla branch, which sells Bengal handicrafts, has also been opened on Nehru Road.
- Darjeeling Mall is also dotted with many shops.
- Darjeeling toy train souvenirs
- Lower Darjeeling’s Chowk Bazaar is a lively market where you can buy all kinds of products. It is relatively cheaper.
- For genuine Tibetan handicrafts: go to the Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Center on Lebong Cart Road.
- You can get handmade Tibetan rugs, shawls, clothes, handicrafts, tankers and more made by local artisans.